These reverential Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or Independence Day tablescape décor ideas are a tangible manner for honoring American forces by setting aside a time to remember the sacrifices made for our collective freedom. This carries on a fine tradition dating to just after the civil war when families would gather with picnics upon hallowed cemetery grounds. Our ancestors and loved ones may be gone but are never forgotten so long as we continue to commemorate the dear price they paid for our united peace.
“Sleep, comrades, sleep and rest On this Field of the Grounded Arms, Where foes no more molest, Nor sentry’s shot alarms!“
A bare wooden table denotes the now barren fields of battles past.
“Ye have slept on the ground before, And started to your feet At the cannon’s sudden roar, Or the drum’s redoubling beat.”
Canvas cloth stars and stripes lay the groundwork for the start of a serene supper. Handcrafted ribbon napkin rings encompass cloth napkins rolled as bandages once were.
“But in this camp of Death No sound your slumber breaks; Here is no fevered breath, No wound that bleeds and aches.”
A seat at the table of peace procures red merely with ceramic vessels set among wooden ones, as wood handled metal flatware convey the firearms of yore.
“All is repose and peace, Untrampled lies the sod; The shouts of battle cease, It is the Truce of God!”
Make your own faux metal stars inexpensively out of paper maché ornaments with this craft tutorial, and then easily DIY custom patriotic napkin rings for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or Independence Day. Use these to perfectly coordinate with your existing holiday décor for a high end look on a shoestring budget. These hefty appearing textured “metal” stars are actually lightweight enough to be used in so many more applications. And they really do fool everyone… until they’re touched!
It’s astonishingly easy to turn inexpensive paper maché ornament stars (found in craft stores nearly year round) into expensive looking one-of-a-kind textured metallic pieces to embellish any project you can think of.
Grab a bag of star ornaments, some cheap white school glue, a lighter or match, and a candle. (I like to use up the last chunks of tall or broken candles to use on these kinds of projects, because candles flames do work better than lighter flames… just don’t ask me why. I stuck this pink leftover into an empty glass soda bottle to hold it in place… as is necessary to prevent wax drip burns.)
Cover a portion of a star completely in white glue. Hold it into the flame until the glue becomes hard with a dusty charcoal layer over it. (Don’t hold it over the bare paper because it will burn! If a flame does spark, just blow it out like a candle. Cover that area with more glue, and then burn on.)
Rub off the dirty charcoal layer with a clean rag or paper towel. (You’ll start seeing a smooth sheen appear.)
You can leave them as is or rub a light wash of metallic paint over them (cheap acrylic craft paint works well). It’s an easy way to add verdigris or to switch between silver and gold. I use a sponge square to dab on paint, and then quickly wipe some of it away (it does dry really fast).
You can really see the detail of the texture on the star’s undersides. (There’s no need to finish the base if you plan on gluing them onto something else.)
Now let’s make mix-and-match patriotic napkin rings using 1 roll of clearance chambray wired ribbon and some lengths of various American themed twill ribbon.
First, cut 6 inch lengths of ribbon (1 chambray and 1 twill for each ring). Then hot glue the twill across the center of the larger chambray. Next, glue one short end over the other, overlapping them slightly.
Craft your own DIY mobile from scrapbooking paper flowers with this tutorial for making decorations and gifts for birthdays, baby showers, Mother’s Day, and get well wishes. They’re great to hang up as party decorations, and then let your guests take them home as gifts. They also inexpensively make sweet craft room décor, and because they’re so lightweight they can be placed nearly everywhere… even suspended over a small workspace in a tiny craft closet to bring the magic of a lush fairy garden inside.
The most important elements of the mobile are the paper flowers that hang from it. Try walking through the scrapbooking aisle at your local craft store, and choose the collection that really catches your eye. (Here, I’m using K & Company layered accents that were on sale.) Be sure to buy 2 matching sets, so that you can glue them back to back later.
It looks much prettier to add a wash of color to the backs of the floral elements, so that when they’re glued they appear as additional petals. (The easiest way to do this is with a sheer colored marker like these Prismacolor markers in limepeel and lilac.) You can also easily modify the front of the designs by adding a wash of color to them. (In this way, I made blue flowers violet and white flowers lavender… who needs “Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo” when you have markers?!)
Also, find a package of smaller floral elements to further embellish your piece with. (Here, I’m using a package of flower confetti that I found on the clearance aisle last year.) Remember that it’s so easy to alter the colors of these elements by simply coloring over them with a marker. (This lilac Prismacolor marker added a translucent layer turning my baby blue confetti into lavender… Flora, Fauna, & Merriweather can eat their hearts out!)
You have several options for the ring the elements will hang from. You can use a 6 inch metal ring (like this golden one from Joann) and wrap it with ribbon… or simply use it as is. You can also opt to use a coordinating wired paper ribbon (as the one I’m using here, which came from my gift wrapping supplies). To do this simply cut a length of ribbon long enough to form approximately half a foot diameter (exact measurements aren’t necessary), and then cut that in half lengthwise.
Next, you’ll need to cut 1 strand of yarn/ribbon for each floral element. Try cutting them in various lengths from 6 to 10 inches. (I used clearance yarns that matched my paper flowers.)
Hot glue the yarn/ribbon pieces (staggered in lengths) to the inside curve of the wired ribbon piece.
Now glue the ends together to form a complete circle, and then glue the top flap (of the wired ribbon) down over the glued strands.
Next, you need to add 3 additional pieces of yarn/ribbon to make a hanging “tripod”. You can either glue them as you did with the strands earlier, or you can simply tie some on. Then, gather the loose ends at the top, and form a knotted loop to hang them by. (If you like, tie more pieces of yarn onto the loop to decorate it a bit.)
Now it’s time to glue on the big flowers. (It’s easiest to do this by hanging the mobile up, so that you can see how you’re arranging the elements.) Hot glue them back to back with the yarn/ribbon sandwiched in between them. (Even though they have foam stickers, it’s best to use a little glue so that the yarn/ribbon stays put… because every fairy godmother knows it mortifying when your creation falls apart.)
Hot glue the smaller floral pieces (confetti) in a staggered formation along the yarn/ribbon strands. (I also used torn off petals from the green floral confetti as leaves.) To the ring, add a few of the smaller flowers and a couple of larger elements (like these butterflies that were the K & Co. package… which I also tinkered with by adding color).
I wanted the dominantly purple mobile to have more of a purple toned ring, so I used a lilac Prismacolor to color in the white portions of the paper ribbon. (I did the same using a blue marker on the dominantly blue mobile… the blue fairy herself couldn’t do this any easier.) It’s the little touches like that which really make mobile a visually cohesive structure… in other words, it’s prettier that way.
If you feel like it needs more sparkle, attach crystals as flower centers and sprinkle glitter… then tell Tinkerbell to eat your pixie dust!
P.S. Check out these mobiles HERE in my Fairyland Tablescape hanging from the trees in the background.
Then get my free printable fairy cards HERE to gift with the mobiles you just created.
Offer Thanksgiving for those loved ones who have remained true blue through the past year with a dinner party featuring a fresh blue color scheme, ubiquitous holiday turkeys, and modern china that complements family heirloom dishes and crystal. This is the perfect way to symbolically honor ancestral tradition while celebrating present day family as well… because family is made from so much more than DNA.
The beautiful 10 inch antique turkey plates are used as salad plates in this modern setting, though they functioned as dinner plates during the era in which they were made. They are placed upon ivory patterned dinner plates, by Mikasa Italian Countryside, which are technically vintage even though the pattern is modern as they remain open-stock.
The wild tom turkey patterned platter and dishes featuring scalloped edges, by Flow Blue by Ridgeways England, are family antiques made in the late 1800s. They were originally purchased by my Great-Great-Grandmother.
The delicate crystal stemware displays a subtle floral motif that echoes the bouquet border of the dishes. They were inherited from another line of the family.
Stretched across a blue patterned tablecloth is a joyfully patterned runner sporting bluebirds of happiness. This was kindly crafted by my mother who hand-stitched the navy trim border just for this occasion.
Guarding the antique crystal salt and pepper shakers, of yet another pattern, are a blue owl and blue bird handcrafted by an artisan in Chile.
“O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” — William Shakespeare
P.S. If you have any trouble identifying your own pattern of crystal or china, there is a reputable company who will identify it by picture for free! Just upload images to http://patternid.replacements.com/ They are researching the stemware seen above for me. I’ll add a comment with the information when I find out!
P.P.S. Also, if any of you out there are interested in purchasing anything you see in my articles, from party supply sets to dishware, just send me a reasonable offer via the contact page!
Easily DIY your own antique looking napkin rings crafted with crochet trim to coordinate beautifully with any china pattern for your Thanksgiving. Then make place-cards using my free turkey and china printables that will double a doggie bag tags when the evening closes. Also, print some to use as food tents cards to identify pies or even as thank you notes or tags for hostess gifts.
To make each napkin ring, you will need to cut 6 inch sections of wide ribbon in a solid color that coordinates with your dishware or linens. (For a 6 place setting that equates to 36 inches, or 3 feet, which is the size of many standard ribbon rolls.) You will need to cut the same size lengths of crochet trim, which may be found in the sewing section of craft stores. (Ivory matches beautifully with most china patterns.)
Next, lay a line of hot glue (or liquid fabric glue) onto all edges of the base ribbon. Lay the crochet trim over it in a way that showcases the pretty edges. (If using liquid glue, let this dry completely before forming the ring.) Then just form a ring and connect the edges with a single line of glue on one side. (Clothes pins will need to be used as clamps when using liquid glue.)
These really look like they could have been inherited, but took mere minutes to make.
The napkin rings serve as a beautiful bridge coordinating my antique china with my modern linens, and they can do the same for you too!
To make your own, right click on the image above and select print. Choose color and photo settings, and print them on sturdy cardstock paper. Cut along the image edges and dotted lines (or coax a relative into helping) then fold in half. Voila!
Use these as place-cards during the meal (to strategically place guests for mealtime peace), and then attach them as labels for individual pie boxes or doggie bags (to ensure the holiday pounds are well distributed).
These also make great hostess gift tags, thank you notes, or even food tent cards (to properly identify the mysterious pie everyone keeps asking about… in my family that would be Chess Pie).
This Pan Asian tablescape makes the perfect theme for the fall transition when hot outside air temps still feel like summer. It was inspired by thoughts of wooden fishing boats sailing upon cool serene indigo waters. Make my Pan Asian Rice Noodle dish as a centerpiece, or just use a small lamp as ambiance for takeout. With origami waterlilies serving as décor, place-cards, and chopstick rests… it’s easy and inexpensive to put together a last minute luncheon or informal dinner.
White cloth napkins rested out-of-place inside vintage Philippines carved wooden dolphin napkin rings. The pristine cloth squares also functioned as placemats. Square wooden plates from the same region held lotus blossom and fish plates softened with dyed cloth coaster napkins signifying blue waters. Small vintage crystal glasses with sides that undulated like waves crackled with patterns that emulated the splash of tides.
Blue patterned and lidded tea cups were transformed into sauce containers when fitted with small wooden spoons and once infusion cups were removed. These were each placed upon small wooden plates as coasters. Oven-baked spring rolls were offered from a ceramic lotus bowl resting upon a batik box fit into a small wooden plate. Blue patterned serving chopsticks were placed horizontally (to avoid the suggestion of funerary incense). Crunchy wasabi peas were cradled by a carved Philippine fish bowl over more cloth coaster napkins layered upon an oblong wooden plate.
An alternative to a family style setting with the main dish at the center is one with a simple matching lamp sitting as centerpiece. The cord lies hidden by a wooden plate beneath a serving bowl, so that it stays hidden even when the bowl is passed around. For elevation, the small lamp is placed onto a cloth coaster over upturned wooden plates as pedestal. (This kind of arrangement is great to have waiting for an after-work gathering fueled by everyone’s favorite takeout.)
ありがとうございます。= “arigatou gozaimasu” (= thank you very much in Japanese)
Every year on the fourth of July, families across the country gather in jubilant celebration of the birth of our proud democracy. We join together to commemorate our forefathers’ defiant stand to secure those inalienable rights we enjoy today, and to venerate that hard-won freedom. Take part in a tour of my star-spangled Independence Day event for décor ideas to plan your own patriotic party with!
History was heralded with a welcoming wreath spangled with bright steel stars and the broad stripes of old glory… denoting a gallantly streaming flag hailed through the perilous fight.
A table in the aft zone was layered with patriotically printed fabric atop a white tablecloth… symbolizing the purchase of peace. The table’s façade was treated as a frontispiece with a star-spangled banner collage featuring iconic imagery in the appliqués cut from the same patriotic print fabric. (Find my no-sew craft tutorial on it here.)
The theatre’s horizon displayed a dazzling banner of classic Americana exclaiming, “God Bless America”. An explosion of color extended to thematic paper plates, blue cups, and flag printed napkins. A plain white vintage water pitcher was adorned with the sparkle of a steel star and flag ribbon.
Decorating rebellion manifested itself with a centerpiece, placed off-center, of beribboned candles atop vintage ceiling tile candlesticks… all to represent Lady Liberty’s torch. Hanging from them were steel stars and flag painted Christmas ball ornaments… representing bombs bursting in air and the flag that was still there. A galvanized pail held utensils set for dessert.
Revelers were offered the refreshment of blue patriot punch held in sustainable vessels festooned with stars and stripes. Further sustenance was provided with chips in a red painted basket (from the Beanitos brand made in the USA).
The memory of George Washington was honored with “truthful cherry patriotic pie” (of my own upcoming gluten-free vegan recipe) held high in esteem upon a metal pillar spelled with zinc USA letters. Sweet vegan tarts crowned with candy stars (from another American brand Hail Merry) topped a second pillar swathed in more stars.
The fore-field was set as an all American build a burger bar over the classic American staple of blue jean cloth set over a red tablecloth. Blasts of star spray shot out from beneath a centermost tray… connoting embattled fireworks.
Homemade burger buns (of my own upcoming gluten-free vegan recipe) were displayed in a pewter dish. Behind that sat a vintage tray offering hamburger accompaniments… like heirloom tomato slices, organic green onion, artisan leaf lettuce, and locally grown red onion slices.
An additional vintage pewter dish served onion loaded beef patties (another of my upcoming recipes). Slices of soy-free vegan cheese (from USA brand Follow Your Heart) were stamped with an American Flag seal of approval. Deep square vintage steel dishes presented pickled okra, onion, cornichons, gherkins, and sun-dried tomato stuffed green olives.
Galvanized metal buckets lined with flag napkins made admirable single-serving fry baskets bursting with seasoned steak fries (see my upcoming recipe). Old-school salt and pepper shakers got the patriotic washi treatment. More vintage dishes contained soy-free veganaise, paprika-free mustard, and corn-syrup-free ketchup… so that no allergy got served.
As the July 4th night sky blazes with the flash of celebratory fireworks, may we all seek to reflect upon the valorous sacrifices made for our collective liberty.
Inspired by our glorious national anthem, I set out to construct my own star-spangled banner (not old glory) to wave over a modern Independence Day celebration. Making a fabric appliqué collage banner is easier than it looks, and it’s easy on the budget because it only takes a little fabric, rope, ribbon, and hot fabric glue. That’s right, glue… no sewing skills are necessary! This makes it so quick to construct, that it can be made the day before a party. Even better, no one else will have anything like it, because it’s your own one-of-a-kind work of art!
Let’s begin with fabric selection as there are a number of ways to go about this… if you have a plethora of leftover fabric scraps, all the power to you, use them! For my banner base triangles, I used old denim. (This might be the perfect project to do something useful with that old pair of jeans that hasn’t fit in, well… awhile!) You can also purchase coordinates at the fabric shops and craft stores. (See my affiliate links in the side bars as they offer great discounts from time to time.) For my appliqués, I bought a patriotic print on sale (from Le fidèLe Designs affiliate Joann / Hancock Fabrics) that was just perfect for collaging. (See more denim and patriotic print fabric completing my Star-Spangled Independence Day Party Décor as table cloths here.)
Divide the end of your base fabric into 6 inch sections, and mark the underside of the fabric with a pen.
Next, mark 8 inches below the top line to form the length of your future triangles. (You can either cut this strip now or wait until all your marks have been made.)
Mark a dot on the 3 inch midpoint of each 6 inch top section. Use a ruler to mark the corresponding point directly below it, onto the 8 inch line (or cut). This will be your triangle’s point. Mark a line to connect this point to each corner of the 6 inch marks you made first. (You will be making triangles with each connection.)
Cut along each line to make your triangle bases. Another option is to make a tab at the top of each triangle in order to fold it over a thick piece of rope… otherwise just glue the triangle top to the rope. (I elected to make a tab for these. I’ll demonstrate the tab-less version in a future tutorial.)
Cut a tapered edge on any tab tops you make, so that it isn’t seen on the front after gluing.
Now cut out individual images from your printed fabric… just as you would in a paper collage or decoupage project. Use good fabric shears for a clean cut, or old scissors to make an intentionally rough edge… again, it’s your project, so it’s your choice. Also, think about cutting apart some of the larger images into smaller ones. (For example, cut apart the eagle from the flag in one image.)
Lay out your triangles to plan your design. Rearrange your cut images until you find it looks pleasing. (This is the part where banner craft becomes collage art.)
Adhere the appliqués to the triangle base with hot fabric glue. (Because I’ve already dealt with staunch naysayers concerning the ability of hot glue to work on fabric… there are varieties of hot glue made just for fabric, and it will say so on the label. Press the fabrics together immediately after applying the glue, using silicone hand protection of course. Once the glue has cooled completely, I defy anyone to pull the 2 materials apart!) There are also many varieties of cold fabric glue that just require more drying time. (This would be the safer option if constructing this with kiddos.)
Next glue each triangle flap over the rope you’ve chosen, leaving an inch or so between each. (For the tab-less version, just glue along the top of the triangle’s underside to attach it to the rope directly.) Don’t forget to tie a loop at each end for hanging.
Cut lengths of random yet coordinating ribbon to tie between each panel. Another option is to cut strips of fabric and tie those on. (You can see I’ve done this in the bows I glued to the panel fronts.) Now go hang it up and admire your handiwork! 🙂
“Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
May you have an absolute blast crafting your own star-spangled banner this Independence Day!
Herald in the fourth of July with an altered art greeting card that doubles as a mailable gift, as it may be framed by the recipient as mixed media décor commemorating Independence Day. It’s a delightful way to send a bit of revelry to a loved one who can’t attend the year’s celebration. This art project is perfect for gathering the whole family together for a fun “crafternoon”, because the Design Memory Craft mediums are non-toxic. They are also fully compatible with each other and a large variety of substrates. This product versatility makes it so easy to combine collage material into something impressive. So follow along as I create an art card ablaze with the spirit of the season, then use the ideas to make one infused with your own artistic essence… because a blast of creativity is the best way to start the holiday off with a bang!
Begin with a readymade greeting card base or make your own inexpensively from sturdy cardstock.
I cut a piece of parchment printed paper to a 7 x 10 inch size, so that it could be folded into a 5 x 7 card… perfect for framing.
I used deckle edge cutting scissors to produce a torn looking finish on the card. (I later used the deckle scissors to cut around some of the stamped images too.) Pitt artist pen big brushes are perfect for highlighting such details. Just swipe the side of the brush along the edge to deposit the permanent ink in a rough fashion.
Paper washi tape is a quick way to imbed visual texture onto the base of a collage. Another way is apply printed pages with gel medium. (I’ll demonstrate this more fully in a future tutorial.)
Design Memory Craft gelatos are multipurpose mediums that look like colored chap-sticks. They apply thickly, but can be thinned to watercolor consistency when mixed with water. (You can even turn them into a liquid spray paint to splatter your work with!) They can be used to dye a variety of materials as well. To dye canvas ribbon, I simply marked it haphazardly with a gelato on both sides. I then took water and rubbed it into the ribbon, like magic… it turned blue. It dried fairly quickly too!
They can be mixed with other mediums also. You can see here what straight gelato and plain gesso looked like before mixing. (Warning: if you explore medium capability with a small sample pack like I did… you may get totally hooked too!)
Here I used a palette knife to tint gesso with a cobalt blue gelato. White gesso opacified the color into more of a cornflower blue. A thick swipe of medium over a stencil will lay down a swath of shaped color onto your paper. (Stencil words like “celebrate” are great to have in a craft arsenal to use year round.)
I used the same technique to form raised letters onto colored paper. (This is a great way to use up all those scraps of “craftermath” from previous projects!) The thicker the layer of gesso, the longer it will take to dry.
Use any leftover gelatoed-gesso as an opaque stamping ink. It’s great to use on colored papers that would just appear as plain black if using a stamp pad. (I really liked the blue on red for these fireworks.) Just remember to rinse off your stamp before the gesso dries.
You can dye just about anything with gelatos and pitt pens. The gelato dyed ribbon will appear lighter once it has dried. If you’d like to impart deeper color, just repeat with more gelato. The little scalloped round element is a cork sticker that I tinted with cobalt blue gelato. It’s easy to make an ombre effect by applying color to only one side then rubbing it across the piece. I used the pitt pens as a wood stain by simply coloring the laser-cut birch 4 and bamboo food pick. (This is the easiest and cleanest way I’ve found to tint wood without losing the grain pattern!)
Pitt artist pen big brushes can also be used in place of stamp pads. (They’re especially great when you want to combine colors onto one stamp image!) I spelled out JULY, with a magnetic lettering stamp, as if it had been printed by an old-school typewriter.
Don’t forget to add your seal of “makership” to the back of your creation! Leftover ink on my stamp blended with the deep scarlet red pitt pen ink to tint the edges a bit darker… which I completely adore.
Once most of your elements are constructed, you can place them on the card in order to edit… if need be. I used the rough-draft placement to decide where my background colors should go.
I used red and blue gelatos as finger-paint to tint the paper and washi tape background with. Use a wet finger or a water brush to grab pigment straight from a gelato, or dip a brush or finger into pre-mixed gelato and water. (My choice took me straight back to kindergarten!)
Next, I tied a bow with the ribbon (representing remembrance) and glued everything down. You can use any glue you like, or even the gel medium to glue down the papers with. (I chose hot glue because it works on all the elements I used… even the wooden ones.)
I layered red tinted cardboard under the stenciled papers, and elevated them with tiny foam stickers for dimension. The fireworks were attached with brads, but I added hot glue dots beneath them to make them pop right off the page. (Note that the star spangled banner is actually another repurposed food pick!)
For a finishing touch, I applied dots with opalescent texture gems gel liner (to symbolize stars in the night sky filled with the rocket’s red glare which we memorialize with fireworks).
It’s that subtle yet profound symbolic meaning that completes the piece’s transformation from craft into art which makes it worthy of being framed, not just as a holiday decoration, but as artwork. This Independence Day, I will be celebrating the liberty we are given to express ourselves in a country of freedom.